Crossing the American West last winter, I was struck by the profound changes to the landscape affected by large-scale infrastructure programs. Rural electrification resulted in an expectation of electrical availability, and power lines now stretch to the horizon.
In much the same way, lines of Interstate highway curve off to the distance, twinned East and West streams.
Assembled by the same volcanic activity, California’s Mt. Shasta (left) and Black Butte (right) make for charming mirror-world contrasts of each other, like The Magician’s Ember and Umber.
Along Interstate 80, stretches of winter Wyoming are wide and barren like I wouldn’t have believed.
In a few stretches, mountains or wind farms crop up in the distance.
But it’s perhaps this image of an orange house, like something from a mid-twentieth-century landscape painting, that best captures the experience.
During last winter’s road trip from New York to California, we were struck by the sheer scale of the American West: one step off the Interstate drops you into an enormous expanse. At the edge of Wyoming’s Black Hills, there’s a Bob-Ross-ian grandeur to enjoy.
Transcontinental driving in the dead of winter is all about dodging storms—but no one’s perfect. In the emptiness of Western Nevada, with only an occasional RV/farm combo to keep us company, the edge of a major storm ran into the setting sun.
“Post-apocalyptic” was the general vibe. The landscape was so large as to be without scale; I couldn’t tell you the actual height of the hills in the distance.
This four-story apartment building was so clearly designed to be flanked by siblings of similar stature. It’s now the contrary holdout on a lot dominated by a monster tower block that threatens to engulf it.
The Century is a classic of early-twentieth-century Art Deco styling, but I also appreciate the somewhat understated courtyard that it presents. There’s such great texture in the brick, and the setting looks almost boring until the lovely structures in the windows and their frames become apparent.